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How to protect our children from sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is the abuse of a child by an older adult for sexual pleasure and satisfaction. Acts such as rape, harassment, groping, sexually explicit conversation, sharing sexually explicit images, such as persuading or unsensional acts of the child are covered by sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is a phenomenon in which children of all ages are at risk, regardless of socioeconomic and cultural level. Unfortunately, many times the abuser is among those whom the child and his family know and trust.

Children often don't say they've been sexually abused or find a space to tell themselves. There are several reasons for this silence;

• Not fully understanding the situation they are exposed to
• Not being old enough to verbally express what you are going through
• The abuser has someone they love, trust, connect with
• Feel guilty
• Fear of being punished and rejected
• Exposure to threats, blackmails or rewards by the abuser
• To think that he will not be believed

So, how can we protect our children from sexual assault? How can we explain privacy? How can we get them to ask for help when necessary?


1. Initiating and maintaining the relationship

Creating a child-parent relationship where the child can ask everything they are curious about and easily convey their feelings and thoughts is the most important step. The presence of an adult who takes care of the child, who the child can trust and feels safe when he is near, is one of the most protective factors.

2. Respecting the child
Privacy training begins at a very early age. When entering the room, the process occurs by taking care of the basics such as knocking on the door of the child's room, not undressing in front of the child, not robbing the child in public, and respecting the child.

3. Don't kiss him when he doesn't want to!
It's important to send the message to the child that his body is special to him, but it's also a transnion to forcibly kiss and hug him when he doesn't want to.

4. Explaining special regions and borders
It is important to explain that there are various regions of our body, some areas are private and private regions. It is necessary to express these regions by their real names, without naming them by nicknames.

5. Good touch and bad touch
Sometimes it is difficult for the child to distinguish between good and bad touch, and there are situations that confuse the child. It is effective to clarify these concepts and to describe an action plan that will tell the child to say 'No', shout and move away from his/her location as soon as he feels a bad touch.

6. Being consistent
If the parent's attitude is contradictory with the situations that are said to the child and expected from the child, the children are naturally confused. Both saying 'your body is special to you' and changing the child's swimsuit in public makes it difficult for the child to put the concept of privacy in his mind.

7. Specify a special word
In an emergency, you can use a special predetermined word, known only to the parent and child.

8. Believe what the child says
Children do not act with their imagination or creativity, especially in such matters. Take what he says seriously.

9. Limit body secrets
Perpetrators often fool children with rhetoric like, "It's a secret between us," "If you tell anyone about this game, we'll never play it again." It is worth telling children that people can have secrets and that it is perfectly natural, but in cases involving the body, secrets are not suitable.

10. Follow and play their games
Children tend to play and re-enact life events that challenge them over and over again. Following the games they play and playing with them a lot leads to access to valuable information and a solid relationship.

11. Make you feel like you'll be there for you anyway
Making sure that his family will be there for him in any situation, no matter what happens to him, is one of the things that makes a child feel safest.

12. Feel your compassion
Feeling loved, precious, special and unique makes the dialogue between child and parent strong. The child feels the environment and space to share every positive and negative situation with his family.

13. Take advantage of books
There are children's books about communication, privacy, boundaries and sexual development prepared with content suitable for age groups. Getting support from these books is very valuable for understanding and internalizing the process.

14. Track signals
Parents following their children; I recommend that they seek expert support if they observe changes in the areas of sleep, appetite, anger, anxiety, self-destructive movements, sexual behaviors and discourses more than their age, need to be cleaned frequently, somatic symptoms.

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